Hi there everyone,
My name is Dylan and like so many other people it was an interesting journey that led here. Iím 22 and grew up in an extremely conservative Christian household. My parents were born again Christians who went from Catholicism to Baptist to Protestant where they have truly found a home. The problem for me though was that I was always getting dragged along with them and never finding my home. Guess Iíll share the story that led me here finally.
Ever since I was a kid I had gay tendencies, but I was also an extremely innocent child who through 7th grade had completely no understanding of what went on in relationships and the such. Which wasnít the best thing because one of my friends was abusing me at night. He himself was a pastors son, and in hindsight now was almost certainly molested by one of the adults his parents left to watch him. Once I started figuring out what was going on, and later truly understanding the significance of it the situation had changed and become incredibly complex. In a way I guess you could call it my first relationship, but it was incredibly twisted and wrong, and the both of us were fighting hard to completely repress and deny our orientation. For 8 years I was stuck in this unending cycle, with no real friends beyond him, and emotional and psychological scars that were beginning to show to others. It was around that time I was at our new church and met a guy named Jason. To date he is still my best friend and was someone who managed to break through all the barriers I had put up and helped pull me away from the hell I was in. I finally broke down and told my parents some of what was going on, though I laid the blame mostly at his feet, something I told them later wasnít entirely true. I broke off all contact with him and finally began rebuilding myself.
It was at this crucial moment of trying to define who I was that I hit a cross roads. Like I said originally my parents were extremely conservative Christians, and their views on homosexuality were very well defined. Not only that but every one in my spiritual life that I looked to for guidance was either of the same mindset or even more Negative on the subject. As a student whoíd only gone to Christian schools to I was led to believe I could not be both Christian and gay. So what was I supposed to do about this part of myself I was now forced to confront. For those 8 years Iíd completely walled off that side of myself, and because of this was a very late bloomer to my sexual instincts. I decided however to fight them, and that with enough knowledge and understanding of the subject that things would change. Thus to the delight of my parents I went off to Northwestern College, a Christian College with very similar values to their own. Not the best place to realize you truly are gay.
My freshman year at the college was a year like no other. For the first time in my life I was part of a community and making friends and finding my own identity. Struggling with my orientation I chose to attack it head on choosing to attack homosexuality in the world and in the church, all the while feeling pain at myself and the reactions of the audience. Late that spring was when things got really oppressive for me at that school. It was a requirement there to go to chapel each morning for worship and lectures, and in the spring they devoted an entire week to the subject of homosexuality. It was easily the most brutal and viscous thing I have ever witness Christians do and say about other people. Not only were they tearing apart and blasting something they had never bothered to understand, but they did it on a spring preview day, letting students and parents in who wanted to go there, it was positive advertising for them. Once again I threw myself into the fight, terrified of others knowing the truth, and appalled at myself for being this monster they had just described. Things took an interesting turn in my sophomore year.
New room, new roommates, one of whom was a friend from church and the most conservative man Iíve known to date. My friends were still there and I got to know the guy across the room really well. So well that I recognized immediately that I had feelings for him. One of the blessings and curses of putting yourself back together is complete self honesty, and I knew instantly that my feelings for him were genuine. I had a blast that year, hanging out with him and yet struggling to suppress my feelings for him as to not ruin the good thing we had going. That fight ended up consuming all of me though, and learning that the one group our school discriminates against were homosexuals I realized how fragile my place in this world was. I ended up flunking most of my classes that semester, but I think it was worth it now because Iíve grown so much and become happy with the man I am today because of the lessons I learned then.
Huh, forgot how long I tend to go on for. Itíll be over soon I promise haha. My parents grew suspicious about my orientation around then, and while grades were a factor they brought me back home by pulling my funding and kept me close to home and away from whoever it was that I had feelings for. That year I told them the truth, as well as several friends. Itís been rough, my parents still believe this is just a phase, that Iím being attacked by Satan, and that if I come to church with them and pray that things will get better. Slow going but Iím a patient man, and in time I hope they can see how Iíve truly given my life and itís problems to God, that Iím proud of the man Iíve become and that Iím excited for the future for the first time in my life. Ironically it was a fight with them that led me here, with my parents challenging me to find scriptural support for my side, and left for church with smug looks on their faces convinced I wouldnít find anything. Well then I found ďWhat the Bible Does and Does Not say about on HomosexualityĒ and that led me here. Aside from my friends who have for the most part been supportive of me Iíve been alone in my spiritual walk. I was honestly floored by the fact that there were so many out there with pasts like mine, and excited to find people I could relate too. Still looking for an accepting church so I can truly grow with a community of people like myself, and finding myself in an interesting position myself. The guy I used to have a crush on is now talking to me and asking me a lot of questions himself. I donít think he realizes what these conversations mean just yet, but Iím patiently waiting to see where it goes for him, understanding his family situation is even more complex then my own and wanting the outcome he comes too to be his own and not what I suspect.
As a last thing Iíd like to say how thrilled I am to find a group of people facing this issue head on and in a way that Iím truly amazed to see and wouldnít mind being part of. Someone I knew who went to Northwestern College came out and the campus found out, and it wasnít pretty. The theater professors canceled his spot in their shows though he was one of the directors favorite, removed him from fieldtrips, and effectively cut him off from the campus until he quit at the end of the semester. Itís been hard for me in dealing with some of my friends misassumptions, especially those who go to that school because itís a place where they indoctrinate people with misinformation about this one subject, which has been incredibly saddening for me because they do so much good work in the area and community. I consider myself lucky, because even though I have a complicated relationship with my parents now the love is still very much there, my friendships have grown stronger, and slowly but surely Iím changing the way people in my life view this subject they never really understood before.
:wave::pray:Hi Dwill and welcome to Soulforce. I read your story and see that you've had and interesting life. I'm sorry about the pain that you've suffered. You are among friends here and you can be yourself.
You will be hearing from some of the regualrs pretty soon. I'm very happy that you found the site.
Best wishes to you.
Back around 1987, I went to a political debate that included a discussion on gay rights. Once of the candidates, who happened to be a teach at a Catholic school, said "No one willingly chooses to belong to a group that is so despised."
I'm actually a middle-aged straight woman, but I've always been sympathetic to gays because I was a really nerdy kid with thick glasses and no social skills. I have some sense of what it's like to feel that you don't fit in anywhere and can't be yourself. Looks like you had a heartbreaking childhood and adolescence. I wish you all the best for your future.
O.o Wow. Replace Northwestern with Cedarville and that sounds about like me. I've known I was gay since... 13 or so, but besides that your story is shockingly similar to mine.
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